Russia says it won’t let foreign banks leave easily

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev said on Friday that the government would not allow foreign banks to leave Russia easily.

“We have stated our position and it stands – we will be tough in letting foreign banks go, it will depend on the decision to unfreeze Russian assets,” Moiseev said, speaking at a forum.

Responding to questions about applications to sell assets, Moiseev said Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank had not made such a request.

“I am aware of one foreign bank’s application to sell assets … which is under consideration by the government commission,” he said.

In imposing sanctions on Russia last year for its decision to send its armed forces into Ukraine, Western countries froze more than $300 billion of Russian central bank assets held abroad.

(Reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya; Writing by Felix Light and Marina Bobrova; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Kevin Liffey)